Quantenna Communications is demonstrating a chipset that improves performance by using four streams or antennas to receive and four to send data, a configuration that is referred to as simply 4x4, using 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Sending and receiving data using multiple antennas is possible thanks to a technology called MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), which is already used in Wi-Fi and LTE networks. The antenna configuration will, for example, help improve the quality of video streaming, allowing users to send multiple high-definition video streams to anywhere within a Wi-Fi network at full, 1080p resolution, according to Quantenna. The chipset is also a good fit for operators that want to use Wi-Fi to offload their mobile networks.
At CES, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 800 series, which will make it possible to have 802.11ac in smartphones and tablets. It combines 802.11ac and LTE, and the first high-end mobile devices based on the design will start shipping in the second half of the year, the company said.
Qualcomm isn't the only chip maker working to put 802.11ac in smartphones. Last year Broadcom announced the BCM4335, which in addition to 802.11ac also supports Bluetooth 4.0 and FM radio.
At CES, Broadcom also announced that it can integrate 802.11ac into set-top boxes for IPTV, and said that LG Electronics will use one of its chipsets to integrate the technology into its 2013 lineup of TVs to improve video streaming performance.
Despite the harsh economic situation, sales of WLAN equipment are growing rapidly, thanks to interest from service providers and enterprises. Vendors posted revenue growth of 19 percent during the third quarter compared to the same period in 2011, which was enough to set a record, according to market research company Dell'Oro Group.
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